One Couple's Nontraditional, Industrial Wedding in Denver, Colorado
Love was served up at a volleyball tournament in Orlando for Meghan and AJ. She had played in college with a friend who also knew AJ. They were introduced, and have been together since. After less than a year together, AJ hatched a scheme to pop the question. AJ (a volleyball coach) picked Meghan (a product management director) up from the airport and when they got back to their house in Denver, there was a typewritten note on the counter which led to a trail of other typewritten notes from her parents and his folks. At the end of the trail was a beautiful vintage typewriter (she collects them) with one last note, asking her to marry him.
Eight months later, on September 30, 2017, they invited 120 loved ones to their Colorado city for their wedding at blanc, an industrial space with a grove of trees right in the heart of town. The night was crafted in an industrial farmhouse style—comparable to the pair's home décor. They broke many of the traditional wedding rules to stay true to themselves and celebrate with their favorite people. "We circled what mattered to us and made sure those items were carried through," says AJ. "New traditions were made, old ones were molded, cut, or cropped to create an easygoing, fun, and memorable night that reflected what was special to us."
The invitation suite was hand-painted by Lana's Shop, with the greenery that would play such a big part at the wedding being the main focal point. The pieces were sent with a collection of vintage stamps—one from New York (where the groom is from), another from Colorado (where the pair lives), a third from France (where AJ has lived), and a four-leaf clover stamp (for their Irish heritage).
The Welcome Bags
Welcome totes included notes about the couple's favorite things in the city, like restaurants and activities, so guests had stuff to do during downtime. In addition, water bottles with Vitamin B and Advil were doled out for pre- and post-drinking.
Both the bride and the groom wore "something blue." AJ donned a navy Suitsupply jacket, a shirt he found at a shop in Paris during a trip there earlier in the summer, a floral print tie he already had, and white pants. "I am from the East Coast and since Meghan wasn't wearing white, I saw it as an opportunity to wear a little white," explains the groom. "I'm not really a suit guy so it was my chance to add a little personality."
Meghan has never loved white gowns and didn't feel like wearing one just for the sake of tradition. She knew she wanted to wear navy and reached out to friend and designer Tara LaTour to make her vision come alive. "She let me play around with some looks, but she knew the dress I was going to wear before I even showed up," Meghan says. "She is a visionary and knew me well enough to know what dress belonged with my body and personality. She is my designer spirit animal."
The Custom Lining
Every Tara LaTour dress features a custom lining. "She surprised me with this lining and I couldn't wait to see what she chose," says Meghan. It was a woodsy ode to the Colorado mountains.
The Bridal Bouquet
Lace and Lilies made the bride's unruly bouquet of dahlias, roses, stock, peonies, hellebores, eucalyptus, and olive branches.
AJ's two older brothers, two college volleyball teammates, and a close friend stood by his side for the wedding.
AJ, his father, Meghan's dad, and the groomsmen received vintage tie clips from all over the world as wedding gifts. Each one represented something that was special or meaningful to that man. AJ's was particularly sentimental because it represented his uncle who passed away right before the wedding, and with whom AJ was very close. It had an emblem of a buck as an homage to a noteworthy hunting trip they took.
Ladies in White
Once Meghan chose a navy dress she knew immediately that her bridesmaids would be the ones in white, because it felt classic and modern to her at the same time. The ladies (including the friend that introduced Meghan and AJ) chose whichever dress style they desired.
Instead of traditional bouquets, the bridal party wore different fresh flower jewelry—arm cuffs, a belt, a headpiece, and this necklace.
The Ceremony Structure
A wooden altar was set up in front of a grove of trees and decorated with flowers and greenery by Lace and Lilies.
To get guests talking to one another, interactive prompts were printed and set on each seat at the ceremony. The prompts included: "Stand up, clap your hands three times and say: Who's with me?", "Ask someone near you that you don't know, 'Don't you just love weddings?'" and "Poke the person behind you on the knee, then say nothing." Plus, groomsmen ushered people to their seats, mixing it up so that different groups of people mingled.
The Ring Bears
AJ has so many friends in his life that are important to him, and when he and Meghan decided to have only five bridesmaids and five groomsmen, there was a trio of pals from high school that weren't in the wedding party. The solution was asking them to be "ring bears" and do a reading at the wedding. Since there weren't any little guys walking down the aisle, it worked! The couple had shirts made and sent them in the mail as a way of asking the guys fill the nontraditional role, and they ended up donning their shirts for the ceremony.
The Flower Girls
AJ's niece and Meghan's goddaughter served as flower girls, holding hands and flower hoops down the aisle.
A long-time friend stepped in as the officiant, and wrote the ceremony with the couple. As a gift, Meghan's mom (who usually gets stage fright), found the courage to sing "Mama's Song" by Carrie Underwood as her daughter walked down the aisle—altering the lyrics slightly to reflect how she felt about her soon-to-be son-in-law.
At the conclusion of the service, the newlyweds recessed to Rihanna and Calvin Harris's "This Is What You Came For"—a totally nontraditional song but a special song for them nonetheless.
The Escort Cards
The couple made custom buttons for each guest, complete with funny sayings, titles, and the wedding's hashtag. They were attached to cards with watercolored bottoms and table assignments, and definitely got the conversation flowing at the reception.
Friends and family gathered outside in the courtyard for cocktail hour where they ate Colorado bourbon shrimp, bacon-wrapped dates, chicken and waffle cones, and phyllo-wrapped camembert prepared by Three Tomatoes Catering.
Sign and Remember
Guests were asked to sign circles of fabric that the couple will make into a Christmas tree skirt so they can display and read their "guest book" every year.
Dinner tables were set up inside under whimsical hoops of greenery by Lace and Lilies. "I wanted décor that juxtaposed the hard concrete and brick walls of the industrial space," says the bride. Trailing garlands and petite arrangements and bud vases served as centerpieces.
Lana's Shop also painted the placemats that did triple duty as place cards and menus, too. "We had three food trucks and didn't want the tables to feel empty or have paper plates and plastics," Meghan says. "So Lana hand-painted place settings. Even the sprigs of greenery differed by place settings. They became individual pieces of art at every chair."
The three trucks offered Mexican cuisine (tacos, chips, and guacamole), American fare (burgers, fries, and pulled pork sandwiches), and Japanese food (plenty of sushi rolls). They skipped cake, because they didn't want anything to pause or break the celebration once the party started. Instead, macarons were set out for guests to grab and enjoy while they danced.
The First Dance
The new Mr. and Mrs. danced to James Arthur's "Say You Won't Let Go."
A Special Dance
AJ and his mom have always loved the song "I Love Her First" by Heartland, and they shared the dance floor with the bride and her dad—doing both the parent dances at the same time.
All Together Now
Meghan grabbed her mom halfway through the dance with her father, and joined AJ and his mom for a family huddle. "It was completely unplanned, and absolutely perfect," Meghan says.
Another relative later hit the dance floor to everyone's delight—Meghan's 90-year-old grandmother. She used to be a tap dancer and still takes every opportunity to share her moves.
Photography, Lucky Malone Photography
Day-of event planning, Tandem Events
Cocktail hour catering, Three Tomatoes Catering
Flowers, Lace and Lilies
Stationery, Lana's Shop
Music, Elite DJ
Rentals, Event Rents
Bride’s gown, Tara LaTour
Bride’s rings and jewelry, Abby Sparks Jewelry
Bride’s shoes, Kenneth Cole
Bride’s veil, Etsy
Hair, Meredith Boles
Makeup, Dayna Connolly
Groom’s jacket, Suitsupply